Monday, March 2, 2009

A Relaxing Mind and Body

Every once in a while, you need to ‘shut off.’ Not to have to think about working, shopping, ironing, bills, relationships, gardening, families, deadlines, children, parents, what’s right and what’s wrong. If you instinctively fell you’d like to do this – you’re right. Your mind and body is telling you that it wants a break, and if you’re being sensible, you’ll heed the request.

Your body is remarkable in the way as it keeps going, despite the fact you may not always feed it or rest it properly. It’s the same with your mind – it carries on regardless. But stress is cumulative.

When young, most of us can cope with much emotional and physical pressure. Other factors will influence how well we cope, of course, including how we see others around us coping, our diet, and the amount of exercise we take and so on. But often as we go through life, our ability to deal with stress lessens. We may not have dealt with earlier problems and challenges either, which means that new pressures are piled on top of the old ones, and so the pressures grow.

It’s clear that we all need a break from everyday life – both physically and emotionally. Imagine you’re like a volcano. At the bottom lie the unresolved problems you’ve battled with throughout your life – lack of self-esteem and confidence; regret over losing a loved one to someone else, problems in childhood, bitterness, perhaps, that seemingly less deserving people have had better luck in their life.

The middle layer may be the challenges you’re facing on a day-to-day basis – money concerns, unsatisfying relationships, ageing parents in failing health, housing problems or similar. You’ll see then that it doesn’t take too much to cause the small top layer of your ‘volcano’ to erupt, when something relatively minor happens – such as a dog getting under your feet or a partner or child asking you for some extra money.

If you don’t resolve the underlying issues these relatively unimportant things will cause you to flare up and erupt almost constantly. It’s essential therefore to give yourself a gift of time. Time to consider and resolve issues that may have held you back in the past and created unnecessary pressures in your life. It is possible to take time out of your normal routine. It may mean asking for help and take much organizing – ringing around, writing and networking, but you can do it.

As with so many things in life, however, balance is the key. It doesn’t matter how well you’re performing, how good you’re feeling, you must learn to recognize when enough is enough. Even healthy pressure can escalate into excessive pressure if it goes on for too long or added demands are placed upon you. When this happens you may well end up in an impossible struggle between what you think you can do and what is realistically possible.

If you’re thinking, ‘This isn’t me. I know when I’m doing too much,’ don’t get complacent. Most people push themselves too hard at some time or another whilst believing they’re still managing as well as they has always done.

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